The sun was shining brightly again today; the city and the bridge twinkled across the bay. Susan was getting out as Angie, Sheila, Colleen, Kim, and I were getting in and she assured us the water was perfect. She was right. Cool enough to be refreshing and invigorating but not so cold that anything hurt. Later we saw Marcia, who swims with a thermometer, and learned that it was 56 degrees F (13.333 C). It’s kind of amazing that only last Thursday the water was 48 F.
Warmer water means we are able to stay in longer and swim further out. When it’s cold we base our swims on time, not distance; being careful not to stay in longer than 25-30 minutes. But when it’s warmer, we base our swims on the highly scientific calculation of the “little tree” the “big tree,” “the point,” and the “point of the point.”
The little tree is a tree along the shore that seems to stand alone once you swim out a certain distance. Even when the water is freezing we can sometimes make it to the little tree, but not always (it depends on our ratio of chatting to swimming). It also depends on who is perceiving our arrival at the little tree. Angie and I strenuously disagree on this subject and like to spend at least five minutes arguing about it. Either she’s messing with me or it’s a case study in how wildly different two people’s perceptions of the same thing can be because, by the time she thinks we are at the little tree, I’m sure we are well past it.
Today I took photographic evidence and I think we can all agree I’m right.
In any case, we swam on today. The day was beautiful and no one was too cold, so we made it nearly to the next landmark: the big tree. When we first started swimming last January our goal was to make it to the big tree by May. We succeeded and then set our sights on the point, which, though it looks to be just past the big tree is actually significantly further. Finally, we made it to the point of the point.
I feel like I should mention that most of the other Albany Swimmers make it beyond all of these landmarks every single day, some of them in skins. Depending on how directly one swims, getting to the big tree and back is usually about a mile. Not a marathon swim by any means, but we are proud of our humble achievements.